Missing Family Found Alive in Freezing Nevada Wilderness

A desperate search for a couple and four kids ended happily when all six were found alive.
3:00 | 12/11/13

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Transcript for Missing Family Found Alive in Freezing Nevada Wilderness
With ten days to go until the official start of winter, storms are sweeping the country and we're in the grip of a record In the mountains of nevada, temperatures have dipped to 20 below zero. On sunday one young family decided to make the best of the inclement weather and headed off to go play in the snow. Until they ended up stranded and fighting for their lives. Here's abc's david wright with the dramatic details. Reporter: For two days in this frozen landscape, search-and-rescue teams hunted in vain, searching the snowy nevada mountain range for a missing family. 34 years old james glanden, his GIRLFRIEND, christina McIntee, two kids, niece and nephew, all young kids. 3 to 10. Tonight against all odds that family is safe. And an amazing story of survival. They shed tears. Cried for happiness. A happy communion. We're glad they have been found, you know. Everybody's prayers have been answered. Reporter: It started sunday when witnesses saw them drive into the seven troughs mountains in a silver jeep wrangler. Man driving it. Woman in front. Reporter: They said they were off to play in the snow. That was sunday at noontime. When they failed to return home, family members reported them missing. And the search got under way. We don't know exactly where they were headed. We have a general idea. And those areas are being searched. The seven troughs is a huge wilderness area. 140 square miles. Authorities were able to trace their last known cell signal, strong enough to register on the tower, but too weak to place a call. The last ping that we got, from their phone yesterday afternoon was in the area here. Reporter: That still left a huge area to cover. Best choice right now is to hit this as heavy as we can with aircraft. And then our ground teams here are basically waiting here, we launch them out, soon as they see anything. 200 volunteers on the ground. Plus aircraft up top. Armed with infrared sensors, sensitive enough to read human body heat. They found nothing. Want out there last night. Went back out today. It is getting more and more urgent as we, as we go. We're running out of time. And, time is not on our side. But the searchers refused to give up hope. We just got to find them. We have known them forever. And those tiny kids. They can't beep out there. None can beep o out there in the cold like this. They were working against the clock and the elements. Tuesday one of the searchers on the ground spotted an overturned car through his wbinoculars. Followed tracks going up a road. We found their footprints. We kept going up athe dthe draw. We saw the jeep down there. Reporter: Chris says he has known the family for 20 years. First thing I did was give jay a big old hug. Reporter: To survive the 20 below temperatures at night they burned one of the car's tires. Experts said the family did everything right to survive the frigid temperatures. The most critical thing they did right was staying with the car. That is your biggest survival resource. They use the tires to get a fire going. To keep warm. Also a huge morale boost. And in the military. Called survival television. You know, just having that fire, warmth, a positive step. Mentally. One of the biggest factors in surviving. The will to survive. These harrowing incidents h happen more often than you think. People come out alive thanks to survival instincts. 17-year-old nicholas joy went missing two days while skiing with his father. He built a cave in the snow. Cloaking himself in twigs and blankets. Until a fire fighter found him. He was cold. But for being in the wood for two days. He was in great shape. I have been praying he could put himself down some place. Thank good he is alive. Reporter: He was no eagle scout. He learned survival skills watching reality tv. Man vs. Wild. We believe this is our christmas miracle this year. Reporter: This time two years ago, the higgins family was driving their car through arctic conditions in new mexico. The back wheel starts spinning in the ice. When I tried to get out off the ice the back end of the car slid off the road and -- we just weren't going anywhere. Reporter: They were buried for two days under four feet of snow. Just as the the oxygen was running out, rescuers appeared. They broke the car windows. Buying extra time. Retrieving the family. Another amazing story, just this fall, a 13-year-old girl, saved by her father. He shielded her from a rock slide. By jumping on top of her. Sacrificing his life to save hers. Among the tales of survival there are gems. The alaskan man who subsisted for three days on frozen coors light. The 72-year-old hunter lost for 18 days in the national forest. He got his protein eating squirrels. Lizards and frogs. As for to day's lucky survivors, they could hear the search teams whistles. Could see the helicopters flying overhead. They knew help was on the way. Tonight having been rushed to the hospital, the doctors have given them a clean bill of health. The patients are stable, preliminary exams, seem like they're doing well. Not even evidence of frostbite. Again the father did a very good job of keeping everybody safe. They have a mild case of ex-pope se exposure and incredible story to tell. David wright, "nightline," reno.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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